MBDA has begun delivering hardware for the first Sea Ceptor local anti-air missile system installation after the Royal Navy approved a ‘commit to fitting’ for the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll.
Meanwhile, the company has begun a campaign of final qualification firings at the Vidsel range in Sweden of the Common Anti-air Module Munition (CAMM) effector associated with the system.
‘‘In May this year I made the decision, with the Ministry of Defence, to commit to the fitting of Sea Ceptor on HMS Argyll,’’ Rear Admiral Alex Burton, assistant chief of the Naval Staff (Ships), told the DSEI Daily during a briefing on board HMS Iron Duke. ‘‘This is a key acknowledgement of the confidence we have in Sea Ceptor to replace the current [GWS 26 Mod 1] Seawolf system. Sea Ceptor provides a significantly improved capability [over Seawolf] and massively reduced whole-life costs.’’ MBDA confirmed that it made a first hardware delivery to Devonport − where Argyll is being refitted − in August this year. A second shipment will follow at the end of 2015.
The replacement of GWS 26 Mod 1 with Sea Ceptor forms one strand of a wider Capability Sustainment Programme being rolled out for the Type 23s.
Other aspects include the introduction of the Type 997 E/F-band 3D medium-range radar, which will provide target indication support to the Sea Ceptor system.
To minimise ship impact, Sea Ceptor installation on the Type 23s has been engineered to use existing GWS 26 Mod 1 infrastructure and interface points. CAMM missiles will be fitted in the existing VL Seawolf silo (one canister per cell for a maximum of 32 missiles).
The Type 23 Sea Ceptor fit will use two Platform Data Link Terminal (PDLT) equipments, one fore and one aft, to ensure uninterrupted 360° coverage. The PDLT provides for two-way communications between the ship and the CAMM missile; target positional updates can be uplinked from the ship to the missile in-flight, while missile status information and diagnostics can be sent back to the ship.